Sunday, May 30, 2010

DIY Planters

I am totally gonna make these planters. I have all the stuff just hanging around the house.
Tin cans: check
Wrapping paper: check
shellac: check
tape: check.
A little direction: check. read all about it here

Friday, May 28, 2010

Boot Camp and Breakfast

I am trying to lose 3 lbs. Yep, starting small. My wedding dress is tight around the arms and I want to look spectacular in it for November.

I figure if I give myself a reachable goal I will be more likely to try.
This is because I tend to give up easily, but not this time, oh no. Time to eat better and reclaim my arms!
I have asked Shawn to work out with me, boot camp style. Lets face it, my man is so sweet to me and I can get everything I could ever want from him, but in this instance I need a drill seargent.

So, we have intensified our workouts. More cardio 3x weekly, and better eating habits. If I wine, I expect him to give me a swift kick in the ass (he has my permission).

This morning I made Huevos Rancheros. Baby steps, right? I made it with egg whites and 1 yoke, no potatoes, and fresh cut pico de gallo. Man, Jamie Oliver would have been proud. The fresh flavors were intense and satisfying. Its no beef stir fry, but it was delish!
I stuck a flour tortilla in my small & medium cast iron pans, and broiled them for a few minutes in the oven. If you want it crispier, leave it in longer, rubbing oil in the pan. Just don't let it burn! It was almost as good as the Grit's Border Patrol (stupid name), and the rancheros at the now defunct Bluebird Cafe, in Athens. I like using black beans, with a little cumin.

My garden is becoming edible! Check out this romaine, I chopped them off for a couple salads and they are totally regenerating:

My plants are like science projects, I check them every day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The two dress phenomenon.

Oscar de la Renta, Spring '10

So lately I have been hearing about ladies being torn between two dresses in which they want to get married. Some have even bought two dresses.

I was one of these ladies.

(Now, I'm not a wedding gown type of gal. I wanted a classic and flattering dress but I didn't want the white gown that you cherish in your closet forever. It was just not me. My practicality stomps on my sentimentality in this area and it may seem selfish in that I wanted a dress that I could wear again. I mean, if I am buying a dress I want one that I could chill out in, post-wedding season, with a glass of wine in hand and not look like a bride. [In fact, I put it on last Saturday.]

Does that make sense?
Well, it did in my head at the time. I have a closet full of bridesmaids dresses that every bride assured me "you can wear it again!" Truth be told, you cannot wear it again unless you're in another wedding with the exact same bridesmaid's dress. And I am never that lucky. So I, the frugalista, made sure I could re-wear the dress in which I said "I do." However, I didn't mind buying bridesmaid's dresses for my friend's weddings. Its what good friends do. And to everyone who ever wanted the whitest, laciest, most princess-like gown that Monique Lhuillier ever stitched, more power to you. It is about getting what you want , and I have no problem with that!)

Anyway, the point of the story is that with all the dresses out there, it is EXTREMELY hard to find your perfect, heart stopping, husband-to be-jaw-dropping dress. I mean, its something that girls think about since young girlhood. I started thinking about it when I turned twenty (my husband and a few boyfriends ago). How are you supposed to know where to find this piece of fabric that transforms a regular woman into a bride?
My first dress was this J.Crew one, in Champagne:

I bought it because it was on sale and I really loved its simplicity, but it was the wrong size and basically lacked the 'wow" factor. I just imagined Shawn unimpressed so I wanted to show a bit more skin.

And I just loooove my dress. I found it in the stockroom at work, and made a special trip to try it on when I found out it was on sale. And it was off the rack, not a customized Vera Wang, like I once thought I'd have. I guess my priorities changed!

So what do you do when you have bought a dress but really like another. I say go for the one you REALLY want, no matter the price. Skimp on something else. Sell the other one on ebay. Be wary of return policies when you buy your dress! There comes a point, though, when you have to stop searching on the perfect dress , and love what you have. After all, he's gonna love you in it!

Thanks to my sis, Grace and my friend Alison, who inspired this post! Sis I hope you find a buyer for your first dress, and Al, I hope you loooove the dress you chose, despite other temptations!

P.S. J.Crew and Martha Stewart Weddings opened up a bridal boutique in NYC, and are have a giveaway here. And the Martha Stewart Episode with Tom Mora here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wedding Cake toppers- another little project I will take on

Remember the post about the Etsy Shop with the cute wedding cake toppers? Well, I found these cuties at the Winston-Salem Greek Festival.

There was a WHOLE room devoted to nesting dolls and I spent some time in there. I found these blanks for a couple bucks, imagination running wild! I love how they're shaped like the dolls. I have been fascinated with them since I saw the dolls open up, spill their their babies, and dance around the mamas in an old Sesame Street short clip.

(Sure, I could have gotten them with the little balls for heads at a craft shop, but I like the story of where I got 'em.)

I just hope I'm not adding more to what I already don't wanna do. At least Shawn & I have our invitation ideas, and the paper bought. Now if only I could buy some time...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Coolest pictures never before seen:

If you're familiar with Scott Shuman's Sartorialist blog then you have probably marveled in the awesome vintage photos in his recent contest. I think the prize was Chloe look books, it was right after fashion week this year. Anyway, people sent in really amazing vintage photos of family members or whoever capturing a sense of style while simultaneously telling a story.

Well, after raiding my mom's a couple weeks ago, I found her boxes of photos that has become her new project. She's re-organizing them into better albums. Of course, my sister Grace, has three times as much photo material than I. She's the oldest, and when I came around things got tough. C'est la vie.
But I didn't care about my baby pics as soon as I came across these:
This was my mom after high school graduation. My mom had most of her clothes made, dresses were always custom done. Even growing up in a developing Philippines, my mom had a sense of dressing for the occasion. She would never let me wear pants to church, not even those hideous floral bib jumpsuits that were popular for a year sometime in the 1990's. I really wanted one, too. They had banded ankle length hems. WTH?!
Growing up here in the U.S, I have come to the realization that we are a casual society dressing mainly for comfort. Comfort is a huge factor in dress, but sometimes we totally compromise style. I'm not talking about vanity, either. I'm talking 'bout that certain something that make you unique (and hopefully fearless, non-matchy, but mix-y, body conscious, and confident!)
I just love seeing older photos because people had such style. They knew when an occasion was one to be cherished, and had tailor made clothing. Didn't matter that they didn't have much, but what they did have MATTERED!

This dress is totally back in style:
The Beda Dress, Spring 2010.
Well, it never went out of style. Classic Tailoring.

This picture will be how I wan to remember my daddy. He's pretty hip here in his suit and plastic fireman's hat. This was probably in downtown Atlanta in the '70's. I didn't know either of my parents to be this stylish but they were. I guess when your young and child-free you have the world at your disposal. I'm sure this is the version of my dad that my mom fell for.

Look at those bells. He even had an afro. Yeah, my dad had a perm. Not to mention my mom's beehive!

I love the story that these pics tell. I never knew my parents this way, but I love seeing the life that they lived.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Word to my Mother

On this mother's day,

I wanted to let you know, Mommy,

that you are the most special,
warm-hearted, faithful,
and strong
that I have ever met.

My mom had raised two girls under the most modest conditions, working to put both my sister and I through college and beyond. I could only wish that her needs are met and all her desires are fulfilled now as she enters retirement. I strive to be the person I have seen in my mom all my life, the patient one that dealt with my hot head. I hope I will always work on being the understanding wife she tells me to be and the super-woman mother that she is.

I had the pleasure of taking care of my mom two weeks ago when she underwent a minor surgical procedure. The only time she needed my help was right after the surgery. The next day she was herself again. She is truly a super woman. She didn't even complain, even though she was in pain. She never does...In fact, I can count on one hand how many times I've heard her cuss. (And she must have been really mad.)

Now that I appreciate her gifts more, I hope I can make her feel like every day is her day. This woman has given me my life, and hers, too, and the least i can do is try to be the person she has shown me to be.
Love you mommy!

And let's not forget Shawn's mom:
She raised three kids almost on her own. I am most thankful for the gift of Shawn. I don't know she did it, but she made the most patient, and sweetest man I've ever met. With a good sense of hygiene. Aren't I lucky?!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Reason

183 days to our big event. Some might be giddy with excitement. Some might simply be a bit confused since we are already married.

We are newly and happily married. We got married in a small church at 9 in the morning with seven other people present. It was the happiest day of my life to date and we wouldn't go back and change things for anything in the world.
I feel that the love that binds two people together in marriage is sacred and intimate. It is serious, not to be entered lightly. It is meant to be forever.
Really, forever.

To me, that is a huge deal.

Two people make a promise to stick it out through it all, longer than any other previous relationship. Through changes, diasters, joys, betrayals, through things you don't even want to think about, through it all. We promised each other. We promised God. I've never made such a decision in my life. I never thought about it until I met Shawn. I've always fantasized about weddings and the act of getting married with others and all the happiness and tears that went with such a day. I imagined a big scene with lots of confetti thrown. There are people and food and dancing. I never imagined how the bad times could be, the tests and trials, the ever evolving relationship what we'll share every day. I started to imagine what it would be like. Who would get me through a tough time. What have we got to do to keep out love strong? What would I do if he ever strayed? Would I leave him? These aren't things that we expect, but we realize that if we don't work with each other every day, they might become reality.

I know when the answers got complicated I was really thinking about my life with him, how we can't leave.

We can't fire each other.

No, we have to think like we are other only ones for each other. Walking away will never be an option.

I knew that I wanted to make sure that i felt that way about him before I even considered marrying him. When I realized I did, I didn't even want to be engaged!
Thats why our engagement only lasted a few months.

Its not about the ring or the wedding plans that makes this relationship exciting. "It" is already there.

But, we wanted to share our happiness the way that couples do with our friends and loved ones. We didn't want to give you all three months notice. Instead, we wanted to invite you to celebrate our love and marriage with plenty of notice, and plenty of time to save the funds to do so!

I hope no one is disappointed to have not seen our wedding ceremony. Trust me, it was moving but not pretty. I sobbed the WHOLE time. It was ironically funny that all our pictures had me looking like I was in pain or something. Just too much emotion...I couldn't keep it all in!

So please join us in November. It will be a Friday night. It will be fun and creative. I am searching the blogosphere for the best of ideas. We're working on the details, and will probably be asking for your addresses soon.

There is a lot of work ahead.
At lease I know no one will be getting cold feet!He kept a straight face. I broke down and stuttered through my vows an ruined my makeup. So not smooth!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Attempting to make Sinigang na karne...

3:08 pm

Got the beef short ribs.
Got the bok choy.
Got the green beans.Got the tamarind mix...
We'll see how it goes!
In order to be a more well rounded cook and food eater, I am trying new (to me) recipes. This is actually something my mom made all the time. I may be having the urge to eat more Filipino dishes since I was with her all last week. Its also a good way to eat veggies. I am trying really HARD to eat more food not saturated in cheese.

True test is if Shawn likes it.

He Loved it.

And Bully enjoyed his bone and the familiar soup flavor I poured atop his kibble. My mom used to give him sinigang when we had it.
Sinigang is a soupy dish with veggies and your chouce of beef, pork or fish. I chose beef short ribs as the Fresh Market was havin' a saaaale!

This is the key:

It gives that tangy flavor without out adding lots of extra salt. I also squeezed the juice of a quartered lemon.

Don't forget fresh veggies. I used bok choy since I picked some up at the Buford Hwy. Hong Kong Supermarket. Latino and Asian superstore in one! The two cultures haven't quite grown large enough to have a "little Havana, " or "chinatown" or similar in places like Atlanta yet.

I used this book. Its pretty easy to follow. And I took it from my mom's house.